Truths and roses have thorns about them

We’re walking in a hurry, late again! Before taking off we’ve tried to get into the mood by listening to Neljä Ruusua (English: Four Roses) on the laptop. The closer we get to the Main Stage, the more pumped we are. We’re still outside the festival area when the first song starts: you can hear the music but not the lyrics. I wonder if it’s one of their radio hits.

Once we arrive at Laulurinne, there is quite a crowd and the atmosphere is high, with Pop-laulajan vapaapäivä blaring in the evening, but it’s still a far cry from the energy and tension of yesterday. The next song, Idänprisessa, makes the festival crowd move their feet. The twentysomething girls in front of us are grooving to the songs they remember from their childhood.

Neljä Ruusua (Photo: Jussi Ratilainen)

The show goes on, but Ilkka Alanko is losing it: he starts singing at the wrong moment, which throws off the whole band. Guitarist Kode Koistinen flunks his solo and the situation is getting out of control. The stage show takes a turn for the surreal, when the band changes outfits and put on wigs. They do an acoustic version of Pop-Museo. After the song there is confusing long silence. More fog, a new set of clothes and a new stage entry: is this a rock gig or a musical?

The gig is taking off slowly and so is the crowd. The audience is clearly younger than that of yesterday’s closing act. One can’t help comparing Neljä Ruusua to Sielun Veljet, and the verdict is harsh: Ilkka Alanko seems to be helplessly overshadowed by his big brother Ismo. Although there was a lot of effort put into the outfits (rosy prints on everyone), the stage show (tons of lights and other cool looking gimmicks) and the string of hits, Neljä Ruusua still fell short of the level we’d expect from Sunday’s closing act. They made the audience sing along, but too many radio hits, one after another, was a bit numbing.

As the rest of the audience was still clapping and shouting for an encore, we had started to saunter back towards the gates. The title of this review is a quote from Henry David Thoreau, and the prickly truth is this: Neljä Ruusua’s performance didn’t impress the web press critics.

Text: Veera Konsti and Essi Orpana
Photo: Jussi Ratilainen
Translation: Jaakko Suvanto

Aihe: In English.